The $500 Wine Question

Vinted on December 21, 2009 binned in commentary, wine buying

What wine would you buy right now if you had $500 to spend on it?

I mean, let’s say you were given $500 cash, right now, and told the only condition upon receiving it was that you had to spend that money on wine, and you had to buy it right now.

What would you buy?

I’ve been thinking about this question for days and days, and it’s made me curious as to how the intelligent, witty, and better-than-average-looking readership would answer it.

Do you blow the whole wad on one wine, like a very-good-but-not-great vintage of Chateau Petrus, just to say t hat you did it at least once? Or go for two bottles of a classified Right Bank Bordeaux?  How about dabbling in a little high-end Burgundy?  Or take a dessert wine tour of the world, through Porto, Madeira, Hungary, Sauternes, Niagara, Jerez…?  Or a bargain-end binge shopping spree, stocking up on fairly-priced wines

It’s a compelling proposition, isn’t it?

Here’s the part that will start to bake your noodle:

Once you’ve decided on an answer… ask yourself Why haven’t I bought myself that wine already?  Is it because $500 isn’t exactly small change in today’s crappy economy?  Catholic guilt preventing you from spending that kind of money on yourself?

I think reading each others’ responses to these questions would be fascinating.

I’ll kick things off – I’d blow the whole wad on one wine, the kind of cultish wine like Petrus that is supposed to blow your mind, just to see if it can really live up to the stratospheric hype factor.

How about YOU?






  • Jason M

    A bottle of Sine Qua Non… well, any Sine Qua Non (preferably a red), and 2 Riedel Vitis glasses to share the bottle with my girlfriend. Something about the shape of those glasses and the hip, cultish-ness of the SQN makes it an appealing combo. Why haven't I bought it? I can't actually find a bottle! If I came upon one, I would take the plunge. Or I always accept donations!

    • 1WineDude

      Nice pick – and classy approach going with the special glasses to win points with the girlfriend!

  • Lindsay

    Two bottles of Chateau Angélus and a bottle of Domaine de Chevalier Blanc.

    • 1WineDude

      Two others I've never tried (but have been next to bottles of both… <sigh>).

  • TallyWineGuy

    Since I've never had any and I'd really like to try them, I'd buy 4-5 bottles that typically price around $100, e.g., BDX red, CdP red, Sauternes, aged Mosel Riesling, Barolo. I wish I could afford a red Burg but they're too overpriced.

    • 1WineDude

      very cool strategy – go high-end on classic regions and do a tour of the Old World.. nice!

  • Tom Johnson

    I think I'd try to hit a couple of benchmarks, maybe Sassicaia and Penfold's Grange.

    I'm not sure you can get even a bad vintage of Petrus for $500 any more. Perhaps the approach should be for ten of us to pool our $500 and put together a killer six or seven wine tasting:

  • 1WineDude

    Or, purchase a firearm and rob a high-end wine store?

    OK… I did NOT mean that…

  • @nectarwine

    I’ll come from more of the practical side but still some adventure. I love expanding my wine horizons but don’t want dive in with my own money and discovery that I hate something. I would walk into a wine shop and pick up something from every region they had. I would explore regions of France, Italy, Spain, Germany.

    To be specific
    2003 La Gerla Brunello Di Montalcino Riserva Angeli Italy
    2007 Charbonniere Vieilles Vignes Chat Du Pape France
    2004 Torres Mas La Plana Cabernet Sauvignon Spain
    2008 Keller Cuvee Beerenauslese Germany
    2006 De Toren Fusion V South Africa
    Barkan Classic Chardonnay Israel, not expensive, but just curious

    I think that totals only $200 bones. Better get to work

    Josh @nectarwine

    • 1WineDude

      Dude, you've got $300 bones left over to par-tay!

  • Jon Troutman

    With New Years quickly approaching, I'm thinking I'd go with ~10 bottles of Grower Champagne and invite a few really close friends over to share them with :)

    • 1WineDude

      Nice – I'll be over NYE around 10PM….

  • Randy Watson

    One word, LAFITE!! Yeah baby! :P

    Same lines as your Petrus…

    • 1WineDude

      That's a good word!

  • @suburbanwino

    TBA, because I otherwise can't justify spending that much on something that comes in a half-bottle. Maybe a great Barolo, Cote Rotie, or something from Priorato. I just think top Bordeaux and Burgundy have too much brand equity worldwide for them to be worth the money. I'd argue the name drives demand as much as the quality, and there's other great stuff out there (Barolo may have too big a name as well…)

    • 1WineDude

      GREAT call on Priorat. Hopefully they aren't headed in the same ($$$$$) direction…

  • streamertyer

    Penfolds Grange Hermitage 1982

    • 1WineDude

      Very specific – someone who knows what they want!

  • RichardA

    I would buy an assortment of wines, priced $50-$100, so I would have wine to enjoy over a number of days. The list would include wines such as a fine 20 or 30 yr old Port, a Vintage Sherry, Domaine Tempier Rouge, Remeriz de Ganuza Rioja, Sean Thackrey Orion/Andromeda & Aquila. It would obviously depend on which wines were available to me. I would probably spend it all in one wine store, so their inventory would somewhat limit my choices.

    I have spent $500 before on a wine buying trip, and would do it again in the future when I have the extra cash

    • 1WineDude

      Porto and sherry – good calls!

  • @AtlantaWineGuy

    I'd go for a bottle of the 2007 Clos St Jean Deus-Ex Machina. If I had any change (doubtful), I'd go for Champagne.

    • 1WineDude

      Change for Champagne… Prosecco, maybe…

  • Ben Simons

    I would probably try one higher end, like a Penfolds Grange 2004 or Chateau Bellevue Mondotte 2005, then look for value with the rest. I have so many things that I would like to try, and I hate to spend the whole thing in one place. Probably try to find a value Priorat and a Brunello.

    • 1WineDude

      Once you find those value Priorat and Brunello, please share them here… I'm not sure that they exist! :-)

  • Tyler Balliet

    A Methusela (sp? This is from my iPhone) of Champagne! Might as well get quantity AND quality!

    • @suburbanwino

      that's the best answer I've seen

    • 1WineDude

      Ohhh, that is sooooo good!

      And talk about a party waiting to happen… who **wouldn't** come over to drink from a Methuselah?

  • David

    I'd buy 6-10 bottles of various Cal and Oregon Pinots. What diversity and pleasure. I'm a Cal Pinot winemaker, so I am biased. When I look at the price of some of the dream wines mentioned and compare it to 10 bottles from my esteemed competitors, I have to go Pinot.

    • 1WineDude

      Ok, so you're a homer. Can't say that I blame you of course if you're going with OR Pinot!

  • Erin

    1979 Chateau Palmer (my husband, last name Palmer, was born in 1979)
    1998 Williams Selyam Pinot Noir (we drank this on our honeymoon)
    2005 Brogan Cellars My Father's Vineyard
    1979 Tulocay Cab Sauv

    I think I'm still under $500…

    • 1WineDude

      You might have enough left over for some beer!

  • @fgj1013

    2000 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut Rose

    • 1WineDude

      That one I'd need to try just to say that I had it.

  • @drXeNo

    Nice post, 'dude!
    I think that I'd like to do a 5 bottle vertical of 1 particular iconic wine. Choices could be, say, Beaulieu Private Reserve Cab, d'Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz, Louis Jadot Chassagne-Montrachet or even a personal fav, Parsonage Carmel Valley Carmelstone Reserve Syrah. Yum!

    • 1WineDude

      Righteous – our 1st vertical!

  • Jason Malumed

    OK, so this is kind of weird… After all this talk, I go an check my mailbox today… There's a letter from Harlan Estate… I've been granted an allocation of the 2005 Harlan Estate "The Maiden" bottling… It's $450 for a three bottle case, plus $50 in shippinh brings us up to… $500. Whatya say, should I take the plunge?

    Maybe anyone want to split a case to start haha??

  • 1WineDude

    Well… that's a lot of serendipity to be ignored. I say, follow whatever your karma tells you to do.

    By the way, it's telling you to buy the wine! ;-)

    Keep us posted!

  • Adam Japko

    I would either buy a mixed case of 2007 Chateauneuf du Papes or my full allocation of Quilceda Creek cab. Is it ok to be wishy washy?

    • 1WineDude

      That's not wishy-washy, it's "prizing variety"! :)

  • rjh

    assuming i could get all of these at close to release price, i'd get the following mixed case:
    2 bottles of 2003 cayuse bionic frog
    2 bottles of 2005 chateau plince pomerol
    1 bottle of 2002 quilceda creek cabernet sauvignon
    3 bottles of boutari vinsanto
    2 bottles of mark ryan 2006 dead horse
    2 bottles of 2004 kosta browne pinot noir sonoma coast kanzler vineyard

    • 1WineDude

      Super kudos for throwing a vin santo in there! "bionic frog"? now that's a brand name!

  • Dana Estep

    Love pinot noir so the chance to try a high end burgundy would be very tempting – although suburbanwino's TBA idea is also very appealing. tough call. assuming I'd have to acquire it in PA, what's available would be a factor.

    • 1WineDude

      Yeah – a BIG factor. Unless you live close to the NJ or DE borders…

  • Ron B.

    Is anyone selling ’61 Cheval Blanc by the glass? It’d pair nicely with the cheeseburger I’m craving. If not, a bottle from one of their “off” years. I can’t find any from ’77 (my birth year) – perhaps they didn’t release any?

    • 1WineDude

      Oh, I've got a glass right here I could sell… on second thought… (glub-glub-glub)…

  • Ben Probert

    Vega Sicilia 1994 would do me nicely, although dead horse and bionic frog sound tempting.

    • 1WineDude

      With a namer like Bionic Frog, it had better be damn good…

  • Gary "Iron" Chevsky

    Undoubtedly a grand cru burgundy (Dujac, Leroy, Meo-Camuzet) from 2005 or a top barolo from 2004 (Gaja, Mascarelo, Conterno, or Giacosa). $500 might not be enough for the Burg, but will try hard! Nothing else is a real splurge (apologies to my Bordeaux and Rhone loving friends here), just a small indulgence :)!

    • 1WineDude

      I'm pretty sure we'd need to increase the $500 gift for that Burg. By a factor of, like, at least ten…

  • Meghan

    It is New Years so I would say a bottle of Armand de Brignac "Ace of Spades" Brut Rose. Got to love bubbles!

    • 1winedude5036

      It doesn't have a picture of Motorhead's Lemmy on the label, does it? :)

      • Meghan

        Ha! Are you a member of Lemmy's Army?

        • 1winedude5036

          Nope, but I need to sign up!

  • WinewithMatt

    Just blew through $500 a few times over on my Saxum allocation. Can't wait to crack some of these bottles open in a few years.

    I wouldn't mind spending $500 on some of the other great offerings coming from the James Berry Vineyard.

    • 1WineDude

      Big spender!

  • Caseyspa

    A half bottle of '88 Chateau d'Yquem and a pint of vanilla ice cream to go with grilled peaches

  • Wine&BeerLover

    Purchase a couple of kegs of St. Arnolds (one amber ale and the other summer pils) and invite the neighborhood to celebrate capping the BP Macondo well! Enough left over to add in the necessary amount of Star pizza.


    Id probably go Chateau d'Yquem 2005

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